I’m beginning to wonder just what Middlesbrough and Brighton have done to piss off the football gods so badly.
Here’s how the real life Championship table stands after six games. With a goal difference of one and zero respectively, it doesn’t seem like Middlesbrough and Brighton are out of place at all.
|Pos||Team||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
But if we look at the analytics tables we see more of the story.
Yes, they have better PDO scores than Blackpool, Huddersfield and Fulham (with Rotherham being sandwiched in-between the duo), but with two of the three highest shot differentials (Corsi) in the league by some way it is just bizarre that they should be sitting in 11th and 17th places respectively.
Let’s not forget this is only six games in to the season with score effects and other anomalies still playing a significant part in team stats – but we are starting to see trends develop now.
|Position||Team||Played||Shots for per game||Shots vs per game||Shots for total||Shots against total||Corsi||Shooting % For||Shooting % against||PDO|
To back this up the pair also have massively high shots on target ratios as well.
|Position||Team||Played||Shots for per game||Shots vs per game||On target % for||On target % against||Corsi||shots on target for total||shots on target against total||PDO||Shots on target ratio|
In the PDO stakes it’s the same problem for both the Teesiders and the Seagulls – too many goals conceded.
I joked a few weeks ago that Leeds should just brick up one half of their goal instead of paying a goalkeeper as it would have produced better results. Well now Brighton has that same problem.
(By the way, Leeds’ shooting % against figure has now regressed back down to a more normal level – poor Dave Hockaday.)
Middlesbrough, while not in such a severe state are still conceding goals at a rate more than 11 percentage points higher than the league average.
Again, the solution I suspect is pretty much the same; just wait it out and hope for the best along the way.
Sure if you’re giving up dozens of one-on-one opportunities each match that might be something to address, but this could even be a symptom of dominating play so much.
Hemming opponents in their own end taking shot after shot can mean defenders push up further than they should and leave the team exposed to swift counter attacks.
But in all likelihood (assuming the appropriate penance had been paid to whichever god they’ve offended) this pattern will dip and Middlesbrough and Brighton will start climbing the table.
At the moment they are dominating games far too much not to.
Most of you will have noticed that Norwich is the team separating Middlesbrough and Brighton at the top of the Corsi table.
Well, if the Canaries keep pummelling opponents’ goal the way they are then it won’t be long before they are top of the real life table too.
Sure, Forest appear a very decent side indeed, but at the moment they’re being driven by a highly addictive PDO drug from both ends of the pitch. Eventually this should ease off (a spell of cold turkey that can be particularly painful) and with Norwich already cruising at around 100 (PDO average) the East Anglia side will likely pull away from the pack, barring any divine intervention.
I’ll give Cardiff fans credit for something – they are nowhere near as dumb as Toronto Maple Leaf fans. And yes, I’m a Leafs fan too.
Cardiff fans seem to be getting the negative connotations of being horribly outshot far quicker than those residing in Canada’s largest city. Perhaps it has something to do with not being able to go around beating other players up as part of the game?
It could also be that that powerful PDO drug wore off sooner in South Wales than it did in Southern Ontario.
Whatever the reason, following the mauling at the home by Norwich, a substantial section of Cardiff fans are now on the warpath and calling for blood.
The Bluebirds have taken the second lowest shots and conceded the second most (60 and 100 respectively) – neither is a good position to be in, especially given the money spent and apparent quality of players brought in.
How long Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s leash will prove to be is an interesting question, and is possibly connected to the ego of Vincent Tan.
But it appears a dramatic turnaround in either tactics or luck is needed to halt the Bluebirds dive at present.
Incidentally, did I mention that Cardiff and Middlesbrough meet on Tuesday night? No? OK then, I'll just leave that hanging there for you all to ponder the impending doom.
Just a short episode this week; with another set of games midweek time is lacking.I’ll try to get another lengthier post written following the Tuesday and Wednesday games.